No need for panic over flight cancellations, says Minister Mbalula

Transport Minister Mbalula said that the grounding of SAA, Comair and some Mango flights was not a crisis.

FILE: Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that all flights affected by Tuesday's grounding would be fully restored by the end of this week.

Mbalula was giving a briefing on the matter in Cape Town.

This after South African Airways (SAA) and Comair grounded some planes earlier today as a precautionary measure following overnight inspections by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Certain Mango flights were also affected.

Mbalula said that the grounding of the flights was not a crisis.

"The point for everyone is that we shouldn't panic. These matters are being attended to. Before the end of the week, everything will be back to normal, in fact, there's minimal interruption of airlines. I was also delayed. I was supposed to land in Cape Town at 8am for a Cabinet committee meeting and then the flights started being cancelled from 6am."

Meanwhile, SAA said it hoped all its flight services would resume and passengers were not further inconvenienced by today's disruptions.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali: "We had the benefit of there being a bigger window of opportunity for us to be able to assess and analyse the situation and to make the necessary deployment insofar as the required aircraft size that matches the number of people who must be flown from Johannesburg to any final destination."

The CAA said it conducted the audit after picking up deficiencies during a prior inspection.

Spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu: "We then had a briefing on Saturday with the airlines to say to them this is what we found from your maintenance organisation and we just want assurance that the aircraft that you currently operate do not have the same deficiencies that we picked up from the sample."

Additional reporting by Bonga Dlulane.